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Is Cook County Revenue Department increasing tax collection audits?

August 15, 2014
The Cook County Revenue Department appears to be ramping up efforts to collect taxes owed under the department’s 3-year-old Voluntary Disclosure Program.
The CATA — and likely many dealerships in and near Cook County — received a reminder notice recently about registering with the program ahead of audits that would expose unregistered businesses to hefty penalties. Any person or company required to register for a Cook County Home Rule Tax must be registered for the voluntary disclosure program.
Dealerships are required to collect and pay to Cook County sales tax on a new-vehicle transaction in the county, and use tax on vehicles that will be titled or registered with a state government agency for use in Cook County.
The CATA is obligated to register because of the Amusement Tax proceeds owed on admission tickets to the annual Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place
If a company registers before it is investigated or receives notice of an audit, it will be required to remit:
• taxes owed for the four-year period prior to the registration date; and
• 15 percent APR standard interest rate.
If the company is not registered, it faces an aggressive strategy to collect:
• taxes going back seven years or from the inception of the business;
• 15 percent APR standard interest rate; and
• 10 percent late payment penalty and 25 percent failure to pay penalty. 
Questions can be directed to Kenneth Harris, the Cook revenue department’s deputy director, at (312) 603-4401; or to Gary Michals, the tax compliance administrator, at (312) 603-7224.